While I Breathe, I Will Hope
I am Jovanie Antonio Langgong, single, born February 24, 1988. I am the eldest son of Mr. Tan Langgong and Mrs. Lourdes Langgong. I was baptized into the Seventh-day Adventist Church when I was eight years old. My father is a layman at T’wol Seventh-day Adventist Church, Lake Sebu, South Cotabato. I have four young brothers and three sisters studying at the present. My family is poor, and my parents have no sufficient source of income. Despite the poverty and difficult life, my brothers, sisters and I have wished to finish our studies. During college, I was a self-supporting student. I strived to work hard until I finished my studies. I graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Community Development (BSCD) at Santa Crus Mission School, Inc. College Department in March of 2009. One month later, I was hired by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) region 12, as a South Cotabato community worker. I liked the job of going to remote areas and underdeveloped communities. I met different people with different problems, but the most challenging problem was when I saw different illness and diseases that needed a remedy. In fact, I have seen children and the young suffering from their illness and the elderly dying from them. I felt like my heart was being squeezed by my conscience because I could not help the needy in this situation. This was a big slap in my face, but I eventually chose to take it as a challenge. I realized that I needed to learn even a simple way of preventing and curing diseases.
A month later, I resigned from my job, because they wanted me to work on the Sabbath day. I made my decision quickly, for what is a high monthly salary in exchange for keeping the Sabbath of God? I lost the job because that was my choice. I was jobless until the end of that year. I was hoping that there was a better job for me, but I did not know what it was and where I would find it. By God’s grace and mercy, I was hired by Wallace Adventist Memorial Academy, a secondary school located at Surallah, South Cotabato. I was one of the teaching staff of this institution, where I taught English.
There I encountered and met the most stubborn and hardheaded students that I had ever seen in high school. I always thought of how I could win them, how I could help them to be good and how I could bring their souls to God. I always prayed about this. Whether I was alone or not, I whispered a prayer constantly that God would give me confidence, courage and hope so that I could do this work for Him. As it is written, “Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the Lord, and He will have mercy upon him.” Isaiah 55:7.
God heard my prayer. Starting September 28, 2010, I began conducting a small group class activity on the school campus every noon after lunch, from Monday to Friday. At the opening meeting, I felt the Holy Spirit of God enlightening the minds of the students. Many students were very willing and became members of the group, and those hardheaded and stubborn students were the first who were interested in this activity. There were five small groups with six members each that were composed of Sabbath-keepers and non-Sabbath-keepers. They enjoyed listening, sharing and reading God’s Word. They also enjoy sharing about life problems, solutions and advice. Day after day, there were changes in their lives. Little by little, they changed their bad habits and attitudes into desirable ones. People around them, as well as their relatives, were wondering how such positive changes were found in them. One month later, there were five students who decided to be baptized. The others were willing also, but they were not permitted by their parents to affiliate with the Seventh-day Adventist church. Seven students and one teacher have fully decided to accept Jesus into their lives.
The small group activities occasionally took place until the end of the school year. Even though others could not accept baptism, they still joined and participated in the activities. Through the small group that I had conducted with divine aid, the wicked ways and undesirable behavior of the rest of the students were changed. God is merciful. He changed the bad attitudes of the students in order to be fitted for His kingdom.
Besides this accomplishment, my mind was forcing me to remember the past when I encountered sick people in and out of the school campus. I remembered my past experience of seeing people suffering from illness and being unable to help. Where and how could I acquire the knowledge of curing disease? This was the question that I continually asked myself. I wondered where I should go. I kept hoping and waiting for God’s call. And I was encouraged by the phrase, “While I breathe, I will hope.” On May 4, 2011, I heard of the camp meeting to be held at Lopes, Tongantongan, Valencia City, on May 23-28, 2011. I made a surprisingly easy decision to resign from my job just for the camp meeting. Following the camp meeting, I planned to stay at Lopes for about a month, and this is what I did. During my stay, Mountain Heights Missionary Training School was introduced to me by Ting Palange, and it caught my interest.
It was not until then that I realized the answer to the question, “Why did I resign from my job?” It was because God had called me. It was because I needed to be at Mountain Heights, and it was because Mountain Heights also needed me. It was the answer to the question, “Where and how can I acquire the knowledge of curing a disease?” I am still at Mountain Heights missionary training school because I wish to achieve and acquire the knowledge that I need. In return, the only thing that I can give to this institution is my teaching commitment. I am teaching English even though I am not as fluent as others are. I teach students or young missionaries to speak simple and common English.
Sometimes I worry because my younger brothers and sisters at home are asking for help and assistance; my family is always in need. When I hear them saying, “Kuya (older brother), please remember us,” it means that they need financial assistance. I feel sad because I remember myself when I was a student also. I was the poorest among the poor. My life was very hard. The experience that I had was the experience that many others could never pass through. I would go to school daily with or without meals. Whenever I had a meal, it was just once a day. I had no nice clothes. During my high school, I had no shoes, and sometimes I could not finish my projects and requirements because I was poorer than poor. But despite those hardships and poverty, my mind was well oriented to finish my studies no matter how poor I was. During those days I said to myself that my experience should not be the experience of my brothers and sisters who came after me.
So what can I do now in order to support my brothers and sisters? My prayers for them will never diminish. God’s Holy Word has comforted me. I do not need to worry about my life, for my Heavenly Father knows everything that I need. (Matthew 6:25-32.) God is the Author of life. He is the reason why certain things were allowed to happen. I do not know what my destiny is, but He knows about it. He holds my destiny, and He shall supply all my needs according to His riches. So wherever God calls me, wherever He directs me or whatever He wants me to be, I will follow His leading.
As told to Titing Palange. Support for Mountain Heights Missionary Training School and other work in the Philippines can be sent to Mission Projects International, PO Box 59656, Renton, WA 98058.